What is your role and what are your responsibilities at the CLDC?
If leadership is in the name, I am most likely involved with it in our office. I am the Assistant Director for Leadership at the CLDC and my main responsibilities include maintaining the leadership workshop curriculum for our certificates, supervising the Graduate Assistant for Leadership and Outreach, managing the application process for the Annual Leadership Awards Gala for the Division of Student Affairs and administering our major services to all OHIO students including career coaching, leadership coaching and mock interviews.
What is your favorite leadership role currently and why?
My favorite leadership role currently is working as the interim President of our local Athens CASA/GAL Board of Directors. I love working with other community members and having a shared goal of informing the local Athens and surrounding areas about our CASA/GAL volunteer program.
What is it like to work at the CLDC?
It’s like getting up everyday to go hang out with your friends for eight hours in a very proactive department. I really enjoy the people I work with regardless of what projects we do or meetings we are in together. We focus on possibilities for the future in our office, where some offices on campus are often reactive and crisis driven.
What has surprised you most about your career thus far?
In my childhood, I spent a lot of time being a cheerleader and working in a team setting. I have always loved being there to encourage someone and make them feel like they have something to offer. I get to be a cheerleader for students everyday in our office by encouraging them to put their best foot forward and think of the possibilities for their future. The part of my life that I thought was over is actually part of my career calling, which is really surprising.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your career thus far?
The biggest challenge I have faced in my career has actually been the path to get here. I sort of took the long way around to student affairs and wish I would have discovered it earlier. For many years, I found myself working in jobs that were just that…jobs. I never really felt like I was doing what I was meant to do. Now that I have found my true calling to be in a career that focuses on other people’s true potential, I know I am where I am suppose to be.
What was your first job ever?
My first job EVER was as a bagger at Kroger in Huntington, WV. It was one of the best first jobs because it was the first time I ever had to think about the words ‘customer service’ and work with all walks of life. Everyone needs food, so you meet just about everyone in a community by working at a place where food is bought.
What was your best career or leadership experience during college?
My best career experience in undergrad at Ohio University was my job as a Resident Assistant. It taught me so much about myself and my strengths as a leader. It also taught me how to make a bulletin board, put on programs and properly clean a micro fridge.
How did you find your first job after undergrad?
Strangely enough, my first full time job after undergrad came through a network I made in my part time job at Bath and Body Works while I was in undergrad. One of my colleagues told me about a new grant funded teaching program that her friend was running in Cabell County. I literally met my first full time teaching boss through my retail network, and it was the start of me finding my passion to help students get to college and find a job.
What are you involved in outside of work?
- Athens County Master Gardener Volunteers
- Athens County CASA/GAL Board of Directors
- The Child Conservation League of Athens – Starlight Ball
- All things gardening and having a new last name, Morgenstern!!
What is your favorite place in Athens?
My favorite place in Athens is probably everything about the West Side community. I can do just about everything I need to do on a daily basis in a six block radius of my house. It’s not really just about the convenience, but it’s also about the tone of the West Side. The people are very laid back and down to Earth, which are my kind of people.
What is the best place you’ve ever traveled? Why?
The best place I have ever travelled would definitely be my study abroad experience in graduate school. I spent five months in South Africa at Stellenbosch University. I tell people all the time that I left a piece of my heart in South Africa when I came back to the United States, and almost ten years later I think that piece is still sitting there somewhere among the mountains, ocean and people of that beautiful part of our world.
Share something about yourself that might surprise people
Hm, that’s hard. I am typically pretty open and have few skeletons that would surprise people, but if I had to choose something that very few people know about me when they first meet me, I would say it’s that I was an Ohio University cheerleader for a short stint in undergrad. I only did it for one season, but really enjoyed it and the people that I met when I was on the team. I will still never forget the first time I ran out of the tunnel at the Convocation Center behind the basketball team and hearing the roar of the crowd for my first home game.
Education, Certifications, and Professional Experiences
- Master of Arts in Counseling – Marshall University
- Bachelor of Science in Education – Ohio University
- True Colors Certified Facilitator
- Master Gardener Volunteer
- Athens County CASA/GAL Certification